Have you ever wondered why it seems that some prayers aren’t answered? Have you even ever, like me, wondered why it seems that it’s your prayers, specifically, that aren’t answered?

Having been a believer all my life, I’ve prayed for many, many things, and I’ve also often experienced the disappointment of my prayers not being answered—at least, not in the way that I’d expected or hoped.

I’m also familiar with many of the usual explanations for why this happens, and—when my emotions aren’t involved—those make sense. At other times, I admit the learned explanations for why my prayer “wasn’t answered” felt pretty dry and cold.

Recently, I came across a poem that approaches the issue from a slightly different perspective—one that I found more positive and that spoke to me on a personal level. I feel it’s relevant enough to include here in full. I hope you’ll find it encouraging as well.

Most Richly Blessed1

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might become wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers and true needs were fulfilled.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

  1. By an unknown Civil War veteran, displayed in the lobby of the Shreveport, LA, Veterans Hospital